Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 16 Issue 01

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Volume 16, No. 1
Pages 34 - 35

BOOK REVIEW • Life at the Limits: Organisms in Extreme Environments

A. Aristides Yayanos
First Paragraph

Wharton is a zoologist who began his career with studies of parasitic nematodes. The free-living stages of parasitic nematodes possess “extraordinary abilities” (p. ix) to tolerate freezing, desiccation and other treatments usually lethal for most organisms. These properties of parasitic nematodes and Wharton’s field trips to Antarctica are the sources of his interests in extreme environments and, presumably, of the inspiration for his book of eight chapters. His discussions of the adaptations of organisms to desiccation and to low temperatures are, as we might expect, among the highlights of the book and give more detail than the discussions of adaptations to other extreme environments. In the Preface Wharton states “the book is written to be understandable by a non-expert…with little background in biology or science.” I review this book with Wharton’s goal in mind.


Yayanos, A.A. 2003. Review of Life at the Limits: Organisms in Extreme Environments, by D.A. Wharton. Oceanography 16(1):34–35, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2003.57.